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  1. #1
    Senior Member jetrim's Avatar
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    Possible copyright infringment - need help

    I don't want to go pointing fingers too quickly but I'm pretty sure a local studio snatched one of my images and is using it for advertising. Wondering how to proceed as there is the REMOTEST possibility that there may have been another photographer standing beside me at the time, taking a nearly identical shot (it was six months ago and there were 9 photographers plus a slew of assistants there). This is a big time commercial rental studio that does a lot of high end fashion work, so there is also the possibility that they photoshopped the top and right side to make it look as if it was not exactly the same. No licensing agreement was ever signed by me, and it was not buried in any legalese at the time of sign-up (I read that stuff carefully). Do I approach them and sk them to produce their original? Speak with a copyright attorney? Other options?

    here's the evidence:
    1 - My original (resized)
    2 - Their Ad
    3 - My image overlayed on their image in "difference" blend mode
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Possible copyright infringment - need help-tye_my_image.jpg   Possible copyright infringment - need help-tye_highres_11888005.jpg   Possible copyright infringment - need help-tye_comparison_image.jpg  

  2. #2
    Panarus biarmicus Moderator (Sports) SmartWombat's Avatar
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    Re: Possible copyright infringment - need help

    I think the killer feature may be what looks like two dust marks on the sensor each side of the wireless trigger on the left hand slave. What are the odds they'd have the same dust in their camera?
    If you can test your camera and confirm they are dust spots and not in the original scene, then I'd say you've got them.
    PAul

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  3. #3
    Senior Member jetrim's Avatar
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    Re: Possible copyright infringment - need help

    Well, this stinks :mad2: I really liked working at/with this studio, but they REALLY should know better! Before checking the board this morning, I pulled up both images and played with the adjustments to see what I could get them to reveal. By jacking up the clarity, I not only found evidence of photoshopping at the top, but the sensor dust pattern is identical
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Possible copyright infringment - need help-tye_comparison_image_sensor_dust.jpg  

  4. #4
    Learning more with every "click" mjs1973's Avatar
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    Re: Possible copyright infringment - need help

    What are you looking to get out of this situation? Is your photo registered with the US Copyright office? Is 'their' photo online? If so did you check to see if the EXIF data is still attached to the image? (Not that the dust pattern isn't enough.) From what you show us it appears to be a pretty clear case of stealing an image but depending on what you want to do about it is a big question. I'm not a lawyer, but from everything I have heard and read, you would be hard pressed to get an attorney to take your case if the copyright to the photo isn't registered. I think you can still register it after the fact, but I would talk to an attorney to make sure.

    No matter what you decide to do, please keep us informed. This situation really sucks but it can be a great learning opportunity for everyone here.

    Good luck!
    Mike

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  5. #5
    project forum co-moderator Frog's Avatar
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    Re: Possible copyright infringment - need help

    What I see is that it surely must be your photo as even if the other photgrapher was standing right next to you things like the whatever is hanging from left photgraphers neck would have more gap from photographer or have been more inside the edge of his shirt.
    There are several other places where you can see that angles between objects is exactly the same.
    I don't know what to do about it but hoping to learn by following this discussion
    Keep Shooting!

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  6. #6
    Senior Member jetrim's Avatar
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    Re: Possible copyright infringment - need help

    I'm certain I can demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that this image is mine. That said, here's what I've done so far:
    Consulted two local pros with prior experience in infringements.
    Registered the image online at copyright.gov
    Saved e-mail & web page to HDD (in case they pull it down and deny use)
    Researched value based on usage through several online stock companies.

    The average value based on size (over 728pixels), minimum distribution (under 1000), and run time (1 month or less) is $930 x 2 = $1860.00 (the x 2 is because it was used in two separate and distinct places/ways.

    Both pros agreed that talking to the studio first would not be shooting myself in the foot legally, and that it was fine to negotiate as long as they offer something of equal value. If that goes well and they do the right thing - problem solved. If it doesn't, it's time to have a lawyer send a cease & desist and request damages of 3x the current market value. If that doesn't get their attention, it's on to Federal Court which *could* impose statutory damages of up to $150,000 per infraction plus attorney fees. I'm hoping they just do the right thing when I meet with them though, even if they trade it out in studio time/equipment rental/whatever.

  7. #7
    project forum co-moderator Frog's Avatar
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    Re: Possible copyright infringment - need help

    They sound like logical steps to be taking and hope they go the honorable route,(or is it too late for that), and that you get what is due you for your excellent work.
    Keep Shooting!

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  8. #8
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    Re: Possible copyright infringment - need help

    I agree you should have no problem proving your case. In a civil suit the level of proof is "the Preponderence of Evidence", only in a Criminal Case is the level of proof "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt.

    From what I can see from the photos above, and comparing parallax from several different reference points, the only way the photos are not from the same camera at the same time would be if the lenses were within 2 or 3 inches of each other. The sensor dust marks moves your level of proof to the "beyond a reasonable doubt" level. Therefore in civil court it "should" be a slam dunk, check with your lawyer.

    Good Luck & Nail the @#&^%$(
    Bill,

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  9. #9
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Re: Possible copyright infringment - need help

    Quote Originally Posted by jetrim
    If that doesn't get their attention, it's on to Federal Court which *could* impose statutory damages of up to $150,000 per infraction plus attorney fees.
    I don't believe that is correct. I think that number is only if the image was already registered and it's at the judge's discretion.

    For what it's worth, I'm dealing with a "borrowed" image problem right now, too. It's a pain in the ass but definitely a good learning experience.
    Photo-John

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  10. #10
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    Re: Possible copyright infringment - need help

    You have 6 or 9 months to register your image after you see it used, I believe. Sounds like you have a slam dunk case here.

  11. #11
    Fluorite Toothpaste poker's Avatar
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    Re: Possible copyright infringment - need help

    Not only did these people use your image wrongfully, they probably don't have permission from all the people in this shot to reproduce the image commercially.

    Perhaps you should bill them for the image and see where it goes. Maybe they'll see their mistake and stop using the pic.
    Canon 5D MKII & Canon 7D

  12. #12
    Member EverlastingImpressions's Avatar
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    Re: Possible copyright infringment - need help

    What's happened with this situation?

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